- I travelled to Far North Queensland in the middle of the year to do field work with a friend from the Netherlands.We spotted a young cassowary in the rainforest at Tarzali. The same day we also saw a platypus on Lake Barrine. Not a bad haul.
- In the drier country to the west we saw bustards. They were just where I'd seen them fifteen years before. Although I suspect these might not have been the same individuals.
- We saw a few other birds. Here's the list for that trip. Not bad. I was thrilled with the beach stone curlews, which were mooching along the beaches at Cairns and Cardwell.
- It wasn't all bird watching. We collected lime-lovin' microsnails at Chillagoe — Gyliotrachela australis and Pleuropoma extincta.
- Nor was it all snail watching. The dry season brought out drifts of the parasitic plant Balanophora fungosa on the rainforest floor.
- Nature was pretty lively at home too. I wandered outside one evening and encountered mating leopard slugs Limax maximus in the back garden. If only I hadn't used newspaper as mulch … (This was also one of Aydin's top moments. Watching slugs, that is. Not using newspaper as mulch. I'm looking forward to his pictures.)
- My semi-regular perambulation along the Williamstown waterfront yielded a few interesting sights. The best of them was this darter or snake bird, drying its wings on the jetty.
- A pink-eared duck on the campus pond. They're not all that rare but that was the first one I've seen. It was probably the first one ever on that pond.
- On a rain-soaked jaunt to Portland, I saw the colony of Australasian gannets and their canine guards.
- And then there was this celestial moment — the glorious Comet McNaught
Wednesday, 2 January 2008
Top 10 nature moments of 2007
Tai Haku at Earth, Wind and Water has started a splendid new meme on bloggers' top 10 nature moments of the past year. It wasn't been a brilliant nature year for me (especially compared with those of some others on that list) but it did yield a few singular moments. Here's my 10 in no particular order.